So you set up your company and finally you get your two booklets of fapiao (Taiwanese uniform invoices, 發票, Fāpiào) from the tax office. It is all in Chinese and they do not come with instruction manuals so what to do?

Let’s see if we can talk you through it. There are two types of fapiao, one book with 3 sheets, one with 2 sheets. You use the 3 sheets when you issue a fapiao to company and the 2 sheets when you issue a fapiao to a private person.

Whichever book you are using you will need some carbon copy paper to make sure each of the 3 or 2 sheets are the same.

Put the carbon papers into the book and write the necessary information in the right location:

1. Company name or if 2-sheet kind, Personal Name
2. If it is the 3-sheet kind, Company Tax ID (統一編號, Tǒngyī biānhào)
3. Date
4. Product or Service name, should be in accordance to your business license
5. Amount
6. Total amount before tax
7. VAT tax amount (5% of number 6) (VAT, 營業稅, Yíngyèshuì)
8. Total with tax
9. Total amount in Chinese characters
10. Fapiao stamp on the second and third slip

If you are challenged on the writing Chinese front then you might have to ask for some help.

Keep the first slip in the book for your records and tear out the second and third slips (obviously second only if you are using the two-sheet booklet) and send them to the customer.

Confused about fapiao?
Wonder if it is a receipt or an invoice? You are not alone. At 7-11 they give you a fapiao as a receipt. If you are a company selling to other companies, they will most often ask for the fapiao before they can pay. This means you might end up paying taxes on money you have not yet received.
You need to report taxes every two months (months 1+2, 3+4, 5+6, 7+8, 9+10, 11+12). Most of you are probably outsourcing this service to an accountant so after a period has ended you need to send your fapiao book to the accountant together with all the fapiaos for things you have bought. The accountant will then calculate how much tax you have (or will, based on your fapiaos) collect from your customers customers and how much tax your vendors have collected from you via the purchases you have made. You pay the net as VAT every two months.

If you would make a mistake while filling in a fapiao and need to start all over, do NOT throw away the papers. Take a stapler and staple up the discarded fapiao. Every fapiao are numbered and you need be able to account for each and every one of those fapiaos in sequence.